1/22/08 Tampa Trib. (Fla.)
Jan. 22‑‑Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
shredded his nice‑guy image with a less‑than‑subtle effort to
generate racial resentment during the presidential primary
campaign in South Carolina last week.
At a campaign stop in Myrtle Beach, Huckabee
tried to appeal to white Southerners still upset that the
Confederate flag was moved from atop the Capitol dome in Columbia
after blacks protested the flag had become a symbol of racism .
"You don't like people from outside the state
coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee told
the cheering crowd. "If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what
to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole. That's
what we'd do."
It was crude and divisive comment that served
no purpose other than to inflame emotions about an issue that had
been settled. A compromise fashioned in 2000 allows the flag to
remain on the statehouse grounds, next to a Confederate soldier
It is encouraging to see the tactic didn't
work. Huckabee finished second to John McCain in Saturday's South
McCain, during the 2000 presidential primary in
South Carolina, tried to skirt the Confederate flag issue, saying it
was a matter of states' rights. He later apologized for compromising
his principles and said the Confederacy was on "the wrong side of
American history." It didn't keep him from winning in South Carolina
Southerners know the nation needs leaders who will bring people
together to face the future, not use the past to tear people apart.